January 7, 2006

Councilor Ruben P. Blanco, 68

THE MAN widely known in Laoag as “The Fiscalizer” in the Sangguniang Panlungsod has passed away.

Blanco was 68 years old.

Blanco started public service in 1964 as Barangay Captain, where he served until 1968 before he became a secretary to the city board from 1970-71.

After his stint at the city board, he became a technical assistant to the city from 1971-73, where he served under the Office of the City Mayor.

In 1988, Blanco tried his luck for an elective post as he ran for a seat in the council which he handily won.

In 1992, he vied for the vice mayoralty post but lost.

Blanco’s political career was revived in 1998 where he ran again for a council seat. From here he won three straight terms. He was serving out his final term when he died.

In his political career, Blanco had always been an opposition to the Fariñases, starting from former Laoag Mayor Roger C. Fariñas and until the present Fariñas in office, incumbent Mayor Michael V. Fariñas.

Blanco went on a sick leave on September last year as he was confined at the Veterans’ Hospital in Quezon City.

After four months of stay in the hospital, Blanco celebrated Christmas with his family at the hospital. From here, they decided to come home to Laoag to celebrate the New Year, to which his attending physicians agreed.

However on January 1 at around 8 in the morning, the veteran councilor succumbed to colon cancer after also suffering from a stroke.

In an interview with Blanco’s wife, Conchita De Leon-Blanco, she said her husband had been very strong and a fighter in whatever he did.

“I never regret that Ruben came into my life. Nagsayaat nga asawa, ama, lolo ken lider,” Mrs. Blanco said.

The couple was supposed to celebrate their Golden Wedding Anniversary on January 10. Unfortunately, the councilor did not make it to that date.

Before he died, Mrs. Blanco told the councilor that they would celebrate their golden wedding anniversary even if it means pushing Blanco in a wheelchair to the altar.

Interment had been scheduled on January 15.

Meanwhile, Sangguniang Panlungsod secretary Enrico Aurelio expressed his deepest sympathy to the Blanco family as he described the late councilor as a good lawmaker and a principled fighter.

“We need a city councilor like him. Ammu na nga ilaban iti pagtaktakderan na,” Aurelio said.

The vacancy created by Blanco’s death at the council will be filled through an appointment of the governor. The replacement however should come from Blanco’s political party.

The Laoag City mayor for his part also expressed his sympathy to the family but refused to comment on the possible replacement.

“But if someone who would come into my office and ask for a recommendation, I will excuse myself and ask them for their indulgence. We also consult his family first baka adda met kayat da nga isukat,” Fariñas said.

Dominic B. dela Cruz

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